Alpha Industries MA 1
Got this in a vintage store off Brick Lane some time ago. It was amazingly cheap. Maybe they didn’t know what they had or perhaps like a lot of people back then the MA1 was seen as the reserve of skinheads. That was about 15 years ago. Things have changed since then of course. As a style it’s been reclaimed by everyone from APC to WoodWood to Stussy all basking in the reflected glory of its timeless authenticity. And who can blame them? Personally I prefer the uncut, undiluted original. What can I say?
Type A-2 leather flight jacket
It didn’t take me long to find this jacket even though it was stowed away in a vast four storey high vintage store called Cheap Jacks occupying what seemed to be one quarter of Manhattan’s Union Square at the time. I’d been in New York for two weeks, casting for an ad campaign. It was my last day there and although I had just a few hours before my flight back to London, I just had to explore this enormous store. This was in the early eighties and although in the UK people were familiar with the idea vintage, in the United States it seemed barely distinguishable from charity shops and thrift stores. The store was full of stuff – some good, plenty not – a lot of men’s floral shirts made of highly flammable fabrics, ladies fur coats in every shade of brown and brightly colouredfeather bowers – many molting through old age and neglect. The place was huge, very intense and rather overwhelming, but somehow within the space of five minutes a came across this jacket. Believe it or not I’d never seen one in the flesh before – only ever in movies and on tv shows and there it was- in mint condition and an almost perfect fit. The other thing I discovered about Cheap Jacks that day was that it was anything but cheap, but hey…
Lee 191 LB
Over the years I’ve worked with loads of denim brands doing pr, marketing, brand consultancy –from the challenge of communicating fit to music sponsorship – you name it. But I’ve never worked for Lee. That’s not for want of trying. I even pitched them with a movie idea once. Lee doesn’t play as much on it’s heritage as they should I think – maybe they reckon it’s a space now occupied by Levi’s. But I’ve always felt that as a brand they have some truly iconic heritage pieces. I’ve had this 191 LB – for some time now and it’s a case in point. There’s an expectation that great denim jackets have rugged construction features. They’re tough. They’re supposed to be made of heavy denim and held together by a series of strategically placed rivets. There’s truth in that, but not always. Although the unlined version of this jacket wasfirst introduced in 1929, it’s as if it was designed along the modernist principle of less is more. The zip front, the corduroy collar and the patch pocketing all make it impossible to separate construction from function and aesthetic. It’s all one. To finish it off, the signature tilt of the breast pocket is both simple and audacious – angled just so, like the tail fin on a 1950’s Cadillac. As with thisstyle of jacket, it’s always struck me as strange that some of the very best American work wear was introduced around the time of the GreatDepression when work was in such short supply.